September Team Practice

We had a small but hardy turnout for our last practice of the year.  Sunday morning was spent at Camp Grayling running the shooters through coached practice.  The Michigan Rifle & Pistol Association was kind enough to let us piggyback our morning practice with their Long Range Regional. The weather was quite pleasant, unlike our May practice at Grayling.

In the afternoon we travelled over to the Cadillac Sportsman’s Club  to run a few drills and shoot a few groups.  Coach Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics, started things off by leading the shooters through his “Tall Target” exercise at 100 yards. 

Team rifles all sporting our new Holland Levels and Nightforce Scopes.

The exercise serves two purposes: first, to marry all the rifles so that they all had the same no wind zero and second, to align our Holland Levels to our scope reticles.  Levels are an often overlooked item that is critical to long range accuracy.  We chose to use the Holland Level because it is a well thought out design that is well made and is easy to see by both the shooter and the coach.

At first we were a little off.  The group pictured is one shot from each rifle at 100 yards.  Our shooters are spread all over the United States.  On their home ranges, which are at widely varying altitudes, each shooter was probably pretty close to a perfect zero.  When you bring all those rifles to one location their elevation zeroes may not match up, as the target below shows.

After Bryan ran the guys through the drill and each of the shooters' scope and bubble were properly aligned, he had them shoot a final group. Again each shooter took one shot at the 1” paster below.  I can tell you that it was quite electric watching as the shooters each took a single shot in turn.  Shot after shot hit inside the spotter.  In the end, a group from ten different rifles was smaller than the groups we may typically shoot on our own.

We ran a few other “top secret” drills at Cadillac and then retired to their covered target pit to review targets and have a long question and answer session.

On Monday, we travelled over to the Marksmanship Training Center (MTC) near Lake City Michigan for another full day of team practice. 

After our morning briefing, we spent some time in coached practice.  The winds at MTC can be a bit squirrelly and can cause elevation.  Though the day did not have particularly strong winds, it provided many velocity and direction changes to keep our coaches busy and at times perplexed.

Sometimes, the best thing to do is just wait.

After lunch, we split up into teams and ran a scrimmage.   The tricky winds stayed with us throughout the afternoon.  In the end, the team coached by Steve Hardin, Bryan Litz and Scott Fulmer edged out a victory.

All weekend we tried to get as many of our shooters wired into the coaches’ intercom network as possible. The opportunity to listen in as the coaches discussed wind reading and strategy was an eye opener for some. 

This is our last practice for 2015.  Everyone on the team is back home preparing for FCNC to be held in Phoenix in late October.